Research by doctors at St Mary's Hospital, west London, found infection rates had increased by about a third in two years.
The findings published in the Journal of Accident and Emergency Medicine were based on anonymous tests of patients attending the hospital's accident and emergency department.
In 1992-93, one in 77 people attending the accident and emergency unit was found to be infected. Two years later the rate had risen to one in 30.
The patients involved were aged 16 to 45. Foreign nationals accounted for three in four in 1992-93, but only one in five in 1994-95.Reuse content